Almost every time I make an online purchase nowadays, there follows shortly afterwards an email requesting some form of review.
It borders on ridiculous when Amazon want to know how ecstatic I was about the new plug and adaptor for my indoor training bike and whether I would recommend it to others.
Such is the level of automation that you and I have switched off - the majority of those review requests go straight to the bin without even being considered.
One got through - I mentioned it a few days ago - when I took the time and trouble to compose a glowing review of Sami, my BT Openreach engineer, who went the extra mile to get my new broadband connection installed and working.
I was motivated to reward his friendliness, attention to detail and caring attitude by hitting the keyboard to create some evergreen marketing collateral for both him and his Employer.
My point being that it was his thoughtfulness that counted and not just the bare fact that my product or service arrived and functioned.
Reviews are not there to confirm delivery - they are the reward for going the extra mile (and, conversely, the revenge for not giving a hoot).
I've been asked a few times since the New Year began about incentives for teams; questions along the lines of "we are all working our tripe out at the moment" (Northern expression - working hard) "do you think I should incentivise the team in some way?"
My answer is "No - carrots and sticks don't work in the long term."
However - an unsolicited "thank you" is priceless.
A surprise delivery of doughnuts and coffee on a Friday morning, with a note to say how much you appreciate everyone's effort.
A "have you got a minute?" at the end of the day, followed by "I just want to say how much I appreciate what you are doing at the moment."
A knock on the door from the delivery man (maybe for the umpteenth time this week) who deposits a box of chocolates with a covering note to say "thanks for always being a superstar."
Because, at the end of the day, it's the thought that counts.